The documentary "A Cloud Never Dies" weaves together original film and photographic archives, telling the story of a humble young Vietnamese monk and poet whose wisdom and compassion were forged in the suffering of war.

In the face of violence, fear, and discrimination, Thich Nhat Hanh’s courageous path of engaged action reveals how insight, community, and a deep aspiration to serve the world can offer hope, peace, and a way forward for millions.

We need a real awakening, a real enlightenment. We have to change our way of thinking and seeing things. And this is possible. Our century should be a century of spirituality, whether we can survive or not, depends on it.


He is a global spiritual leader, a scholar, a peacemaker, a writer and a poet. Revered worldwide for his teachings on mindfulness, he remains a humble Buddhist monk most at home in the stillness of nature, surrounded by his community.

Thich Nhat Hanh has written over a hundred books, read by millions worldwide. Martin Luther King publicly nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. But how did this unassuming seeker from central Vietnam confront the horrors of war and emerge as a spiritual pioneer, bringing the Buddha’s teachings to the West, to become a force for change in the world?

Thich Nhat Hanh was born in central Vietnam in 1926, under French colonial rule. Even as a child, he was aware of the political instability and turmoil in his country. At the age of nine, he saw a picture of the Buddha on a magazine cover, and experienced a deep desire to be as calm and peaceful as that Buddha.

When he was sixteen, he became a novice monk at Từ Hiếu Temple in the imperial city of Huế. There he began Zen training in meditation, while also tending buffaloes and working in the rice paddies. He soon mastered classical Chinese and French, and devoted himself to the study of ancient Buddhist texts. He lived through the Japanese occupation and the Great Famine that followed.

Whilst many of his peers turned to foreign ideologies and violence, he was determined to find another way to liberate his people from suffering.

Buddhism was very old when I grew up, and yet I had the belief that if we can renew Buddhism, we can help many people. That is because I had learned in history that there were periods of time that Buddhism was able to help restore peace. It's my conviction that if Buddhism could do that in the past, it can do that in the present moment, if we know how to renew Buddhism, to make it a living tradition again.

As a young monk he took the name ‘Nhat Hanh’ meaning ‘One Action.’ Determined to renew Buddhism, he became one of the first monks of his generation to study science, literature, economics, and English.

He soon realised that monastics must offer society more than just chants and prayers, and developed a vision for "Engaged Buddhism".

Suppose you are meditating in a meditation hall and if you hear the bombs falling around. The meditation hall has not been hit by a bomb yet, you are save. But since you are meditating, you are aware that the bombs are falling and destroying houses and people around the meditation hall. And you know that you cannot just continue to sit in the meditation hall, so you get out of the meditation hall in order to help people. And that is called "meditation in action".

In 1954, as the communist North and anti-communist South vied for dominance, Vietnam was divided, and violence raged. He meditated intensively through this time of grief and despair.

Only when he discovered the practice of mindful breathing in an ancient text, did he find the key to heal his suffering. He expanded the practice to develop a new way of walking meditation, combining the awareness of breathing with each step. These practical methods for handling painful feelings became central to his life’s teaching, and have today been taken up by people all over the world.